Most travel brochures typically portray the touristic side of Turkey, but it has many faces and away from the bustling cities and small traditional villages, is a clustering of coastal villages making up the Turkish Riviera.
Much unlike its counterpart in France, the Turkish Riviera is a blend of budget and luxurious lifestyles. Places like Didim, cater for the cheap end of the market with basic restaurants and property sold for what many say, is the ideal long-term real estate investment. Still to modernise itself and emerge as a key player of the Turkish Riviera, it is far behind other coastal resorts attracting rich celebrities, keen yachtsmen, and savvy real estate investors.
About the Turkish Riviera
Stretching from the Northern Aegean near Istanbul and heading around the Mediterranean coastline to the cosmopolitan Antalya district, the Turkish Riviera attracts international and domestic sailors eager to experience the Blue Voyage cruises, of set routes comprising the coastal resorts, and small islands.
Its roots can be credited to the fisherman of Halicarnuss, an exiled writer during the early part of the 20th century who explored the Aegean coast by gulet boat and set a trend in bohemian social circles for Riviera living.
Despite the luxurious label of a Riviera, two things make the Turkish version unique. It caters for budget travellers by offering cabin charters on traditional gulet boats. Historical and precious landmarks also line the coastline, mostly making up the iconic Lycian way on the Mediterranean section. Naturally, though, high-end and upmarket districts have sprung up and two of the most notable is the hilly town of Kalkan and the small coastal village of Gocek.
Kalkan: Mediterranean luxury
Sitting half way between the Antalya and Fethiye peninsulas of the Mediterranean coast, Kalkan is one of the most sought-after districts of Turkey. Popular with foreign property buyers and rich Turks from the big cities, its reputation as a leader of fine dining, modern villas and upmarket social circles is firmly engrained and nothing can knock it off its throne.
Covering a steep hillside, the network of narrow cobbled streets, holds both modern and original houses. The old town is perfectly portrayed by whitewashed houses covered with trailing pink bougainvillea crawling among the wooden window shutters. While modern and new build villas boast of stunning sea views, infinity pools and the latest in home décor designs and trends.
Marketing some of the highest property prices in the country, this can be credited to the fact that due to its geographical landscape, only a limited amount of land was available for building, therefore creating an in-demand market.
Certain builders have also capitalised on the high-in-demand concept as seen in this luxurious villa of the Komurluk district that is on the market for a staggering £1,300,000. Consisting of five bedrooms, 5 bathrooms and its own private beach platform, quality furniture and white goods complete the overall upmarket feel and vibes.
Its roots as a fishing village is not as evident as other places like its neighbouring resort of Kas and neither does it have world-famous beaches. However, since sailing, water-sports and diving are the favoured pastimes in the area, this does not affect its status as a key player in the sailing and yachting social circles.
Gocek: Traditional but Modern
Just over 100 kilometres west of Kalkan, is Gocek, another upmarket and sophisticated destination portraying the more prestigious social scenes of Turkey. Sitting directly on the coastline and backed by the scenic Taurus Mountains, it was called Kalimche in ancient times, and its Ottoman roots were as a harbour for trading ships.
These days, part of the reason for its celebrity status belongs to the six state of the art marinas that line the nearby coastlines. One of them, Club marina with its mooring capacity for 195 boats, accommodates mega yachts, therefore, dominating the billionaire side of the industry.
The many small islands surrounding the coastline are a lure for leisurely sailors while the property market receives a boost from the protection status of Gocek that bans multi-storey buildings above two levels, therefore preserving its quaint village-like appearance.
Adhering to building laws, rules and regulations have not hampered inspired architects though and a unique property development of Gocek made it into the national newspaper for its originality and unique appearance.
130 villas built around a connection of fabricated canals and sailing routes, provide boat owners with direct access from their property to the sea. Small leisure yachts moored up to pathways weaving a walking route through the development provide the perfect picture postcard scene of what a riviera destination should look like.
How to Visit Gocek and Kalkan
Both resorts sit off the main D400 coastal road, connecting the Antalya and Fethiye destinations. Gocek is ideally reached using Dalaman airport, whereas Kalkan can be accessed using Dalaman or Antalya airport. If travelling on the countywide bus system, head first to the centre of Fethiye where you can catch a connecting bus. Otherwise, do as the locals do and arrive in traditional fashion by boat. Both Gocek and Kalkan sit on routes of the Turkish Riviera of which cabin and private charters are available.
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